Dylan’s little brother was much smaller. He was one of the smaller kids in his class. His moppish, unkempt blond hair did little to hide his cherub-like, round face, which refused to stop looking like a little boy’s face. No matter what he did, he just couldn’t be as mature-looking as his older brother. And it wasn’t for lack of trying. He once heard that eating too much chocolate would give you acne, and in the little boy’s mind, acne made you look older. He managed to sneak to the corner store and buy three big bags of Hersey’s Kisses and two king-sized dark chocolate candy bars. Every single bit of chocolate was consumed by the time he walked the four blocks home. As his stomach began to tie into knots, he just knew the discomfort would be worth it. The next day was an utter disappointment. Not only did his stomach still ache, but his face looked exactly the same. Not a single zit graced his angelic face.
The challenge to be like his older brother went beyond just looks. He was never interested in the toys that his friends played with. He wanted the same amusements as his brother. When Dylan stopped playing with action figures, so did he. When Dylan finally got the latest gaming system, he insisted on equal time, pushing himself to keep up with the records and achievements in each game that Dylan played.
“Seriously, Bjorn?” chided Dylan in a loud, nearly parental-sounding voice. “Do you have to cuss like an ill-tempered sailor every time you play that game?”
“Oh s***! My brother’s home! I mean, whoops, sorry – oh dang! I gotta go!” Bjorn barked as he pulled the headphones away and turned to his older brother.
Despite sounding angry and stern, Dylan was far from it. From the day Bjorn was born, Dylan knew his little brother worshiped and looked up to him like no other. It was hard to be angry at the little guy who wanted more than anything to be respected and be just like his cool, big brother.
“Let’s have some dinner, little dude.”
Bjorn, popping up from the floor, replied, “Cool! I’m starving man. Whadda we having?”
Dylan narrowed his eyes, and in his best, evil, bad-guy Chinese accent hissed, “I have visited the dragon lady and now bring us treasures of amazing flavor, deep from the Orient!”
Bjorn tilted his head and nodded in appreciation. Attempting to mimic his brother’s Chinese accent, the boy stated emphatically, “You have done well. But have you reached a level of enlightenment that brings with it the wisdom to serve two orders of sesame chicken?”
Maintaining character, Dylan snapped his head towards his little brother, declaring, “Young student, you need your vegetables!”
Bjorn let out a huge sigh. He knew his brother was right, but he’d rather have more sesame chicken than snow peas and celery. The boys headed into the kitchen, and Dylan removed the food from the paper bag, as Bjorn opened the cabinet and pulled out some plates.
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